Faribault woman charged with bomb threats

Published 7:53 am Friday, April 3, 2009

A Faribault woman already on parole for threatening elected officials in Austin was charged Thursday with making bomb threats against 16 post offices in southern Minnesota.

Christina Anne Reineke, 38, made her first appearance in federal court in St. Paul. She was arrested during a search of her residence March 27.

In the charging documents, authorities allege she sent eight of the bomb threat letters on Feb. 4, when she was living in New Ulm, and the other eight March 14, after she had moved to Faribault. The handwritten letters all said the bombs would kill postal employees and customers.

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“You and your Employees will all die. Your patrons will die your postal OFFICE will blow up. A BOMB will be planted at your postal Facility you will not Know when this will happen or how it will happen Everyone deserves to die This could be an Inside Job or an outside Job,” read the letter sent to the Sleepy Eye post office, according to the documents.

An affidavit by a postal inspector that accompanied the complaint noted that the Faribault Daily News received a threatening letter March 24 in response to a story it had run on the post office bomb threats. The affidavit said that letter threatened not only to blow up the 16 post offices “in a synchronized manner,” but also threatened to blow up the newspaper’s office and the reporter who wrote the story.

The affidavit said Reineke confessed to postal inspectors in a jailhouse interview that she had written all 17 letters, and identified all the handwriting on the envelopes and letters as hers. However, Reineke was not charged with threatening the newspaper or reporter.

The threatened post offices are in Mankato, North Mankato, Lake Crystal, Madelia, New Ulm, Sleepy Eye, Le Center, St. James, Northfield, Dundas, Faribault, Warsaw, Kenyon, Medford, Morristown and Owatonna.

Postal inspectors tracing the letters contacted the Department of Corrections after they learned Reineke had been living in the cities where the bomb threats were mailed.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service had offered a $100,000 reward in the case but the documents don’t say whether it helped lead authorities to Reineke. The service did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

If convicted, Reineke faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison on each count, though federal sentencing guidelines usually result in lesser sentences.

Reineke was in custody and could not be reached for comment. She’s being represented by the federal public defender’s office, which declined to name her attorney.

Reineke was convicted in May 2007 of mailing threatening letters to state Rep. Jeanne Poppe, DFL-Austin, Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin, and Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm. She had been living at a boarding house in Austin at the time.

She was sentenced to 27 months in prison. She was released last November and was under intensive supervised release.

According to state court records, Reineke has been convicted several times since 1992 of theft, fraud and check forgery in Blue Earth, Hennepin, Mower, Rice and Nicollet counties, as well as terroristic threats in Wabasha County.

During an interview with the Austin Daily Herald in 2007, Reineke claimed she suffers from borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression.